The journalist in me makes it impossible to stop reading press releases. I just can’t do it.  Once a news assignment editor, always a news assignment editor apparently, and part of that job has always been to forage for news via press releases, police scanners, newspapers, beat calls, while eavesdropping during lunch or through any other means that brings in a good story.

But now, since I am no longer responsible for determining what to divulge to the masses during a 22 minute news hole, I’m reading and digesting them a bit differently.

I can now analyze them a bit, laugh at the long-winded nature of many who write them and look for cool things to share with people in my networks.

There is a trend I’m noticing of late. It’s the press release announcing a new twitter account or Facebook page.  (I’ve written about this before.)

If you’re expecting a rant on this one, I may disappoint because I want to think this through a bit more as I type. It seems insane on the surface, but is it really any different than announcing a new product or service?  If your twitter account is a new service, then perhaps it does require a press release. Today I came across announcing its new twitter page to “share insurance news and answer consumer questions.” 

And before I say anything bad, I have to give them credit for not assuming that every reader would be well-versed on twitter as indicated in this excerpt:

The posts, commonly known as “tweets,” provide insurance-related guidelines, advice and news about legislation and others’ missteps.

They even take it a step further to announce what types of tweets a follower might expect to see:

Many tweets are for national or international trends or phenomena such as a link to a report from Insurance News Net about the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s reinforcement of its tsunami warning systems within the United States since the Indonesia 2004 disaster. The article also describes the National Weather Service’s TsunamiReady program and shares recommendations from the Insurance Information Institute. Other posts address the interests of residents in specific states.

And if you want to read a few previous tweets, just to be sure following the account is a good idea,  there’s this:

A December 28, 2009 tweet stated that consumers from the state of Washington have saved more than 300 million insurance dollars since 2000 and presents a link to the relevant news release from the state’s Office of the Insurance Commissioner. Another example is a link to a Medical News Today article about the effect that health care reform could have on Arkansas residents.

Now you actually know what to expect, and that’s not a bad thing. They are providing a service and letting people know about this new resource. I say, announce it as you please.

I started this post with the idea of discussing how some would argue that using old school methods such as press releases, (which Peter Shankman says will be dead in 22 months) to announce a twitter account is a bit backwards, but I haven’t even convinced myself that it is because I think it’s important to use as many tools as possible to get the word out and see nothing wrong with it. So I’m going in a new direction.

After reading that press release, I am now wondering what a spammers press release might look like, so I’ll take a stab at it. Here goes.

Today, we at SpammersRUs launched 4,563 twitter accounts and we are now following 89,342 twitter users, of which 65% are classified as ‘highly influential’ according to Topsy.  This leads us to believe that we will reach an insane amount of users, compromise accounts across numerous continents and send people scrambling to create new passwords.    Our followers can expect several Direct messages with links to salacious sites that could infect their computers or lead them to some really interesting adult websites.  One tweet from January 12, 2009 promised great deals on Viagra and produced amazing click through rates which encourages us to continue.

I could go on but it would get pretty ridiculous. But you get the idea. So, is it backwards  to post a press release about a new twitter account or is it savvy and smart? What are your thoughts?